As the school year comes to an end, the Kenora community celebrated the achievements of graduates marking the beginning of a new chapter in their lives with many going on to university, college or beginning new careers.

Eighty students from St. Thomas Aquinas high school crossed the stage for the last time on Thursday, June 21. The students were recognized for all their hard work during their high school years. Among them were Matthew Favreau and Shelby Leroux this year’s valedictorians. Before leaving the halls of St. Thomas Aquinas, Favreau and Leroux gave the incoming grade nine students valuable insight to help them start off their freshman year.

Q: What advice would you give for the incoming Grade 9s, who may not be changing schools but are starting their four-year journey?

Leroux: It changes very quickly, but it’s not hard to adapt. It’ll pass by before you know it, so just keep going.

Favreau: Four years seems like a long time, you spend your whole life thinking graduation is so far away and then all of a sudden, it’s over. Savour the moment and enjoy every opportunity.

Favreau was this year’s recipient of the prestigious Director’s Award of Excellence. He is starting at the University of Ottawa in September, where he will study music. Leroux will be attending the University of Manitoba where she’ll major in math, before studying education.

Favreau and Leroux are just two examples of the thousands of exceptional graduates of Ontario Catholic Schools. Do you know of an exceptional new grad? Send us their story: